Padding across the wood plastic floor of their high, safe rooms, he paused. His eyes raised from the dusty sill, peering through the weatherproofed panes and fine metal screen that held the room against the icier drafts of winter.
Through the diced and blurred reality of the mesh screen, the rooftop world was a blur of tiny cells. The cells were blocked in places by a thumbprint smudge, a loose hair, or the windblown fuzz of seeding plants. In the fruitless suspension of the window screen they waited out their half-life of promise, potential randomly entrusted to each seed and just as randomly wasted.
The dimming sky slipped from ember-glow of sunset to the dull bronze of oncoming night. Perched atop skinny iron poles, the big orb bulbs of the city street lights mingled with burning firefly-orange strings from shopfront awnings.
Two working men stamped across the broken paving of an alley in the deepening dark. They stretched a long banner of fabric across the width of the alley and vigorously shook it clean, giving the impression of old woodcutters biting at an unseen tree with a skinny, silvery saw. Behind a nearby church, a piercing white emergency light flared to life like an angry star.
High above, in the safety and warmth of the apartment, the angry white light stared into his retina on long sleepless nights: “This time is not for you”.